Phillies star Bryce Harper could return from IL sooner than expected

Bryce Harper #3 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
Bryce Harper #3 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images) /

Just days remain until Bryce Harper will hopefully re-join the Phillies lineup.

The Philadelphia Phillies lineup will hopefully get a significant boost a week from today. Monday afternoon, the organization announced that star Bryce Harper will join the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs on a rehab assignment starting Tuesday, and is expected to play through Saturday, reports The Athletic’s Matt Gelb.

If all goes well, Harper will take Sunday off and join the Phillies for their six-game west coast trip starting Monday, August 29, against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Previously, Harper was thought to return to the Phillies lineup in the Friday, September 2, road series opener against former Phillies manager Gabe Kapler and the San Francisco Giants.

Harper has been sidelined since June 25 with a broken thumb — suffered on a hit-by-pitch via San Diego Padres southpaw Blake Snell. Before Sunday’s series finale against the division-rival New York Mets, Harper told reporters his estimated thumb mobility is 85 to 90 percent back., and that his “strength is there,” Gelb adds. Harper aims to get enough at-bats at Triple-A Lehigh Valley so he can return to the big-league team without needing to take days off.

Through 64 games, the reigning National League MVP was shining with a .318 batting average, .386 on-base percentage, and .599 slugging percentage — along with 21 doubles, 15 home runs, and 48 RBI.

Due to a separate elbow injury, Harper will finish out the 2022 season as the regular designated hitter — putting rookie slugger Darick Hall’s future in the team’s final 41 games in doubt.

For his 11-season career, the seven-time All-Star is just one run scored shy of 900, as well as nine doubles shy of 300.

In the past two weeks, the Phillies offense has produced a combined 42 runs — the eighth-fewest among teams in Major League Baseball. Harper returning sooner than expected is significant news for a team seeking its first postseason berth in 11 years.

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